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U.S. film director John Singleton dead at age 51

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – John Singleton, who made his directorial debut with the acclaimed film “Boyz n the Hood” about young men struggling in a gang-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood, died on Monday at the age of 51, his family said, days after he suffered a stroke.

“We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died,” the family said in a statement. “John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.”

Earlier on Monday, the family said it had made the “agonizing decision” to withdraw life support from Singleton, who was being cared for at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since having a stroke on April 17.

Singleton was a native of South Central Los Angeles, the community that was the setting for “Boyz n the Hood,” a drama about friendship amid the peril of gang violence.

He became the first African-American and the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy award for best director, at age 24, for the movie, which he also wrote.

Singleton later directed films such as action film “2 Fast 2 Furious” and historical drama “Rosewood.” He also directed episodes of TV shows including “Empire” and “Billions.”

Most recently, Singleton was the co-creator and executive producer of FX network TV series “Snowfall” about the start of the cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.

His family said Singleton was “a prolific, ground-breaking director who changed the game and opened doors in Hollywood, a world that was just a few miles away, yet worlds away, from the neighborhood in which he grew up.”

Slideshow (9 Images)

He also “loved nothing more than giving opportunities to new talent” including Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Ice Cube and Taraji P. Henson, the family said.

Hollywood celebrities paid tribute to Singleton on Monday.

“John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything,” filmmaker Jordan Peele wrote on Twitter.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Tom Brown and Marguerita Choy

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
U.S. film director John Singleton dead at age 51

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – John Singleton, who made his directorial debut with the acclaimed film “Boyz n the Hood” about younger males struggling in a gang-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood, died on Monday at the age of 51, his household stated, days after he suffered a stroke.

“We’re unhappy to relay that John Singleton has died,” the household stated in an announcement. “John handed away peacefully, surrounded by his household and buddies.”

Earlier on Monday, the household stated it had made the “agonizing resolution” to withdraw life help from Singleton, who was being cared for at Cedars-Sinai Medical Middle in Los Angeles since having a stroke on April 17.

Singleton was a local of South Central Los Angeles, the group that was the setting for “Boyz n the Hood,” a drama about friendship amid the peril of gang violence.

He turned the primary African-American and the youngest particular person to be nominated for an Academy award for finest director, at age 24, for the film, which he additionally wrote.

Singleton later directed movies similar to motion film “2 Quick 2 Livid” and historic drama “Rosewood.” He additionally directed episodes of TV exhibits together with “Empire” and “Billions.”

Most not too long ago, Singleton was the co-creator and govt producer of FX community TV collection “Snowfall” in regards to the begin of the cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.

His household stated Singleton was “a prolific, ground-breaking director who modified the sport and opened doorways in Hollywood, a world that was only a few miles away, but worlds away, from the neighborhood by which he grew up.”

Slideshow (9 Pictures)

He additionally “beloved nothing greater than giving alternatives to new expertise” together with Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Ice Dice and Taraji P. Henson, the household stated.

Hollywood celebrities paid tribute to Singleton on Monday.

“John was a courageous artist and a real inspiration. His imaginative and prescient modified all the pieces,” filmmaker Jordan Peele wrote on Twitter.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; enhancing by Tom Brown and Marguerita Choy

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.
Facts Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/Q9L3vfHWncM/u-s-film-director-john-singleton-dead-at-age-51-idUSKCN1S51W8

Mark Domingo

A terror plot by a US army veteran, who converted to Islam and wanted revenge for the New Zealand mosque attacks, has been thwarted, according to federal prosecutors.

Mark Domingo, 26, who served in Afghanistan, allegedly wanted to cause “mass casualties” by planting a bomb at a white supremacist rally that was due to take place this past Sunday in the Los Angeles area.

Domingo was taken into custody last Friday following an online sting operation.

In a statement, US attorney Nick Hanna said: “This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause the maximum number of casualties.”

Domingo's accused of plotting to cause "mass casualties" at a rally in Long Beach
Image:
Domingo allegedly plotted to cause ‘mass casualties’ at a rally in Long Beach

He was charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and was due to appear in court in LA on Monday.

Prosecutors say during online conversations with an undercover FBI source, Domingo expressed support for a violent jihad and was willing to become a martyr.

He allegedly revealed that he planned to detonate an improvised explosive device at a rally in the LA suburb of Long Beach and had asked for help in obtaining a bomb.

He discussed different types of attacks that included targeting Jews, churches and police officers, court papers allege.

Domingo is accused of specifically buying three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs.

Prosecutors claim Mark Domingo, who converted to Islam, wanted revenge for the New Zealand mosque attacks
Image:
Prosecutors claim Domingo, who converted to Islam, wanted revenge for the New Zealand mosque shootings

If convicted of all charges, the 26-year-old suspect could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

The arrest comes two days after one person was shot dead and three others were injured when a gunman opened fire in a synagogue in the San Diego area.

Police arrested suspect 19-year-old John Earnest.

There is no indication the two incidents are connected.

US veteran ‘deliberate mass casualties in New Zealand revenge assault’ | World News

A terror plot by a US military veteran, who transformed to Islam and needed revenge for the New Zealand mosque assaults, has been thwarted, in accordance with federal prosecutors.

Mark Domingo, 26, who served in Afghanistan, allegedly needed to trigger “mass casualties” by planting a bomb at a white supremacist rally that was on account of happen this previous Sunday in the Los Angeles space.

Domingo was taken into custody final Friday following an internet sting operation.

In a press release, US lawyer Nick Hanna mentioned: “This investigation efficiently disrupted a really actual menace posed by a skilled fight soldier who repeatedly said he needed to trigger the utmost variety of casualties.”

Domingo's accused of plotting to cause "mass casualties" at a rally in Long Beach
Picture:
Domingo allegedly plotted to trigger ‘mass casualties’ at a rally in Lengthy Seashore

He was charged with offering and trying to offer materials assist to terrorists and was on account of seem in courtroom in LA on Monday.

Prosecutors say throughout on-line conversations with an undercover FBI supply, Domingo expressed assist for a violent jihad and was keen to change into a martyr.

He allegedly revealed that he deliberate to detonate an improvised explosive system at a rally in the LA suburb of Lengthy Seashore and had requested for assist in acquiring a bomb.

He mentioned several types of assaults that included concentrating on Jews, church buildings and law enforcement officials, courtroom papers allege.

Domingo is accused of particularly shopping for three-inch nails as a result of they might be lengthy sufficient to penetrate the human physique and puncture inner organs.

Prosecutors claim Mark Domingo, who converted to Islam, wanted revenge for the New Zealand mosque attacks
Picture:
Prosecutors declare Domingo, who transformed to Islam, needed revenge for the New Zealand mosque shootings

If convicted of all prices, the 26-year-old suspect may face a most sentence of 15 years in federal jail.

The arrest comes two days after one particular person was shot lifeless and three others had been injured when a gunman opened fireplace in a synagogue in the San Diego space.

Police arrested suspect 19-year-old John Earnest.

There is no such thing as a indication the 2 incidents are related.

Facts Source: http://news.sky.com/story/us-veteran-planned-mass-casualties-in-new-zealand-revenge-attack-11707381

And according to marine experts, the mammal’s backstory may be even stranger: They believe it was trained by the Russian military.

Fishermen Joar Hesten was the first to encounter the whale, off the coast of Finnmark, a county in northeastern Norway. Hesten then contacted the country’s Directorate of Fisheries.

Jorgen Ree Wiig, a marine biologist at the directorate, told CNN: “The whale seemed playful but our instincts said that it was also asking for help to get out of the harness.”

The harness appeared “specially made,” Wiig said, and bore “mounts for GoPro cameras on each side of it,” while the harness clips read “Equipment St. Petersburg.”

Writing on the harness clips read 'Equipment St. Petersburg.'

Wiig believes the whale came from Murmansk, Russia, and was trained by the Russian navy. The navy has “been known to train belugas to conduct military operations before,” he said, “like guarding naval bases, helping divers, finding lost equipment.”

CNN has contacted the Russian authorities for comment.

Martin Biuw, a marine mammal researcher at Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, agreed with Wiig, telling CNN: “The fact that it’s a trained animal is undoubtable.”

After seeing video footage of the whale, captured by Wiig, Biuw said: “It’s quite clear that the whale is searching out the boat, and that it’s used to being around boats. The whale is coming up with its head above the water, opening its mouth, which suggests that it’s expecting to be fed fish as a reward.”

Experts from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries released the whale from its harness.

Such training, he said, “is not conducted by researchers or anyone in Norway or Greenland. Researchers there do not use harnesses.”

Biuw stressed that any statement on the whale’s intended purpose would be “pure speculation,” but added: “We know that the Russian military during the Cold War were training belugas to sniff out mines or old torpedoes.”

In 2017, the Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute trained beluga whales, dolphins and seals for military roles, the Siberian Times reported.

As for the beluga spotted last week, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries succeeded in freeing it from the harness, after which it swam away. “It was the best feeling ever,” Wiig said.

Whale found by Norwegian fishermen could be trained by Russian military

And in line with marine specialists, the mammal’s backstory might be even stranger: They imagine it was trained by the Russian military.

Fishermen Joar Hesten was the primary to come across the whale, off the coast of Finnmark, a county in northeastern Norway. Hesten then contacted the nation’s Directorate of Fisheries.

Jorgen Ree Wiig, a marine biologist on the directorate, advised CNN: “The whale appeared playful however our instincts mentioned that it was additionally asking for assist to get out of the harness.”

The harness appeared “specifically made,” Wiig mentioned, and bore “mounts for GoPro cameras on all sides of it,” whereas the harness clips learn “Gear St. Petersburg.”

Writing on the harness clips read 'Equipment St. Petersburg.'

Wiig believes the whale got here from Murmansk, Russia, and was trained by the Russian navy. The navy has “been recognized to coach belugas to conduct military operations earlier than,” he mentioned, “like guarding naval bases, serving to divers, discovering misplaced gear.”

CNN has contacted the Russian authorities for remark.

Martin Biuw, a marine mammal researcher at Norway’s Institute of Marine Analysis, agreed with Wiig, telling CNN: “The truth that it is a trained animal is undoubtable.”

After seeing video footage of the whale, captured by Wiig, Biuw mentioned: “It is fairly clear that the whale is looking for the boat, and that it is used to being round boats. The whale is developing with its head above the water, opening its mouth, which means that it is anticipating to be fed fish as a reward.”

Experts from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries released the whale from its harness.

Such coaching, he mentioned, “is just not performed by researchers or anybody in Norway or Greenland. Researchers there don’t use harnesses.”

Biuw burdened that any assertion on the whale’s supposed goal would be “pure hypothesis,” however added: “We all know that the Russian military in the course of the Chilly Struggle had been coaching belugas to smell out mines or outdated torpedoes.”

In 2017, the Murmansk Sea Biology Analysis Institute trained beluga whales, dolphins and seals for military roles, the Siberian Occasions reported.

As for the beluga noticed final week, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries succeeded in releasing it from the harness, after which it swam away. “It was the most effective feeling ever,” Wiig mentioned.

Facts Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/29/europe/norway-whale-russian-military-scli-intl/index.html

U.S. measles outbreak hits 'completely avoidable' 25-year-high: officials

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of measles cases in the United States has reached a 25-year peak, propelled by the spread of misinformation about the vaccine that can prevent the disease, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 704 cases as of April 26, a 1.3 percent increase since the most recent tally of 695 reported on Wednesday. The vast majority of cases have occurred in children who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease, officials said.

“The suffering we are seeing today is completely avoidable,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday. “We know vaccines are safe because they’re among some of the most studied medical products we have.”

A vocal fringe of U.S. parents refuse to vaccinate their children believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in them can cause autism.

Some 22 states have recorded cases of the extremely contagious and sometimes deadly disease. None of the victims of the recent outbreak have died, but 3 percent have contracted pneumonia and 9 percent have been hospitalized due to complications from the disease, CDC director Robert Redfield said on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump urged Americans last week to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of measles, changing course from remarks he made in 2014 when he expressed doubt about giving children government-recommended doses of vaccines.

“The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now,” Trump said on Friday.

The current outbreak has been concentrated in New York City, where officials said more than 390 cases have been recorded since October, mostly among children in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. Most of the recently recorded cases have been in New York and Los Angeles, officials said on Monday.

Slideshow (2 Images)

The national outbreak has escalated since 82 people in 2018 and more than 40 people in 2019 brought measles to the United States from other countries, most frequently Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, federal officials said.

Up to 10 percent of patients in the current outbreak are adults who had received one or two doses of the vaccine, the CDC said. Some adults may need a new dose depending on whether they received the recommended two doses of the live virus or if they are traveling into and out of outbreak areas.

Although the virus was eliminated from the country in 2000, meaning it was no longer continually present year round, outbreaks still happen via travelers coming from countries where measles is still common, the CDC says.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Scott Malone, Tom Brown and Bill Berkrot

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
U.S. measles outbreak hits ‘utterly avoidable’ 25-year-high: officials

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The variety of measles instances in the US has reached a 25-year peak, propelled by the unfold of misinformation in regards to the vaccine that may stop the illness, federal well being officials mentioned on Monday.

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reported 704 instances as of April 26, a 1.three % enhance since the latest tally of 695 reported on Wednesday. The overwhelming majority of instances have occurred in youngsters who haven’t acquired the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the illness, officials mentioned.

“The struggling we’re seeing right this moment is totally avoidable,” U.S. Well being and Human Providers Secretary Alex Azar mentioned on Monday. “We all know vaccines are protected as a result of they’re amongst among the most studied medical merchandise we now have.”

A vocal fringe of U.S. mother and father refuse to vaccinate their youngsters believing, opposite to scientific proof, that elements in them could cause autism.

Some 22 states have recorded instances of the extraordinarily contagious and generally lethal illness. Not one of the victims of the latest outbreak have died, however three % have contracted pneumonia and 9 % have been hospitalized as a result of issues from the illness, CDC director Robert Redfield mentioned on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump urged People final week to get vaccinated to stop the unfold of measles, altering course from remarks he made in 2014 when he expressed doubt about giving youngsters government-recommended doses of vaccines.

“The vaccinations are so necessary. That is actually going round now,” Trump mentioned on Friday.

The present outbreak has been concentrated in New York Metropolis, the place officials mentioned greater than 390 instances have been recorded since October, largely amongst youngsters in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. A lot of the lately recorded instances have been in New York and Los Angeles, officials mentioned on Monday.

Slideshow (2 Pictures)

The nationwide outbreak has escalated since 82 folks in 2018 and greater than 40 folks in 2019 introduced measles to the US from different international locations, most regularly Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, federal officials mentioned.

As much as 10 % of sufferers within the present outbreak are adults who had acquired one or two doses of the vaccine, the CDC mentioned. Some adults may have a brand new dose relying on whether or not they acquired the beneficial two doses of the reside virus or if they’re touring into and out of outbreak areas.

Though the virus was eradicated from the nation in 2000, which means it was now not frequently current 12 months spherical, outbreaks nonetheless occur through vacationers coming from international locations the place measles continues to be widespread, the CDC says.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Enhancing by Scott Malone, Tom Brown and Invoice Berkrot

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.
Facts Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/smB7wIylDtg/u-s-measles-outbreak-hits-completely-avoidable-25-year-high-officials-idUSKCN1S51JG


<a href='https://news.sky.com/story/animals-and-spying-how-often-does-it-happen-11707026'>Animal espionage: Defecting dolphins and crafty canines</a>

<a href='https://information.sky.com/story/animals-and-spying-how-often-does-it-happen-11707026'>Animal espionage: Defecting dolphins and crafty canines</a>

<a href='https://information.sky.com/story/animals-and-spying-how-often-does-it-happen-11707026'>Animal espionage: Defecting dolphins and crafty canines</a>
Facts Source: http://news.sky.com/story/animals-and-spying-how-often-does-it-happen-11707173

Within days of the attacks, ISIS’ online publication al Nabaa crowed about “raising the Caliphate banner in new arenas… The days are pregnant with more disappointments for the enemies of Allah.” The video was released by a news agency linked to ISIS.

There is much yet to be learned about the organization behind the Sri Lankan attacks, but counterterrorism experts are united on one point: the small Islamist groups on the island could not have carried out such a complex attack without outside help.

That begs several questions: is ISIS successfully exporting expertise in bomb-making, fund-raising and recruitment far beyond what was its core territory? Where is it finding fertile ground? And how far is “ISIS central” — subject to a crippling war of attrition over the last three years — capable of organizing and directing attacks far from its heartland?

Slipping away

CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman was in Baghouz in northern Syria for nearly two months as he reported on ISIS’ last stand. “I don’t think there is any doubt that many militants — hundreds — managed to escape to fight another day,” he says. “As the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) closed in on Baghouz, there were plenty of opportunities to escape. The number of SDF fighters was relatively small and the area they needed to secure large.”

Many will still be underground in Iraq and Syria. We are already seeing the adaptation of ISIS in Iraq into a low-level insurgency, with ambushes and assassinations against government forces and Shia militia in several Sunni areas this year. A UN report early this year noted: “This network is being established at the provincial level with a cellular structure mirroring the key functions covered by the central leadership.”

In January, an ISIS sleeper cell was able to carry out a suicide attack that killed at least 14 people, including four Americans, in Manbij in northern Syria, far from the sliver of land it still controlled. Just in the past week, ISIS fighters staged a surprise attack on al Kawm in the desert near Palmyra.

Aimen Dean, who joined al Qaeda in 1996 before becoming an asset for British intelligence, told CNN he estimates that as many as 5,000 ISIS fighters are at large in the area.

Most assessments suggest (though this is an imprecise science) that thousands rather than hundreds of ISIS fighters and planners slipped out of the caliphate after the loss of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.

“We don’t know how many have died,” says Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the ISIS/Al-Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team at the United Nations. “But we can assume that at least 50% survive. My personal guess is more.”
A week after the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka is no closer to understanding or healing

Intelligence sources say some slipped through Iran into the Pakistani province of Balochistan and into Afghanistan. Its propaganda suggests ISIS sees India as promising territory and is intent on aggravating Muslim-Hindu tensions there. Others have gone home to Jordan and Saudi Arabia — where there was an ISIS-inspired attack on the same day as the Colombo bombings.

The ISIS network in Libya is regrouping since being ejected from the coastal town of Sirte and has carried out several attacks this year against other Libyan factions.

In the Philippines, a pro-ISIS group held parts of the town of Marawi for five months in 2017; it included many foreign fighters.

“Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan: these are the countries where returnees are going to pose a significant threat,” says Aimen Dean.

Push and pull

Beyond the battle-hardened survivors of the caliphate, there are plenty of ISIS sympathizers sustained by online radicalization and extremist preachers. The collapse of the caliphate may have diminished ISIS’ appeal, but despite US President Donald Trump’s boasts that “We just took over 100% caliphate,” it has certainly not extinguished it. The group’s leadership long prepared for this new phase of its existence. Before he was killed in a drone strike, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said the loss of territory would not spell the group’s end.
“No: defeat is losing the will and the desire to fight,” he said.
What should Europe do with its captured ISIS followers?

ISIS’ leadership has been hollowed out, communication and planning disrupted. But the message is still out there. Edmund Fitton-Brown says attacks inspired by ISIS will become the new normal.

“It’s angry, radicalized individuals responding to something they’re seeing online,” he told the Combating Terrorism Center’s Sentinel.

Some will sign up to ISIS’ ideology; some will look to al Qaeda. And in some places, such as the Sahel in north Africa, there are signs of budding cooperation between members of each group. Aimen Dean, who follows the fighting in Syria closely, says some former ISIS fighters are gravitating to a group aligned with al Qaeda — Hurras al Deen — in northern Syria.

In some ways a devolved structure is more difficult to confront than a highly centralized one. Cutting off the head of the snake has less effect. Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Africa, Yemen and elsewhere survived and even prospered long after al Qaeda central was decimated.

The bank of terror

Where ISIS has a critical advantage is at the bank. Fitton-Brown says that estimates of its assets fall between $50 million and $300 million. Other estimates go even higher. The revenues of the Caliphate have been invested in legitimate businesses, laundered through banks and money-lenders and literally hidden under floorboards.

One overriding question about the Sri Lanka attacks is how they were financed. Dean estimates the operation may have cost between $30,000 and $40,000. “Who put together that sort of money and how did they get it?” asks Dean.

Similarly, after the attack in Riyadh a week ago, Saudi authorities raided a recently-built farm complex whose construction, according to Dean’s sources, would have cost nearly $200,000. There were plenty of cash and weapons there too.

So, the ISIS leadership may still exercise some control over the distribution of funds. “Money absolutely was moved outside [of Iraq and Syria],” says Fitton-Brown. “And caches of money and gold were transferred to other locations.”

“The cash is always centrally administered by an ultimate authority within the organization,” says Dean. Operations may be at the discretion of local franchises; their funding rarely is. “ISIS is the Bank of Terror,” Dean told CNN.

A global phenomenon

In decades past, terrorism tended to be local or national. In 1998, al Qaeda announced itself on the world stage with attacks in east Africa, followed by the September 11 attacks on the United States three years later. The age of transnational jihad had arrived. The global reach of terrorism has since been fed by online radicalization, encrypted messaging and the ease of international travel.

Why we still need to worry about ISIS

Set this within what Bruce Hoffman, writing for the Council on Foreign Relations, describes as religious intolerance and sectarian tensions everywhere, “whether it be rising Islamophobia, as in the March 2019 attacks on two mosques in New Zealand; increased anti-Semitism … the unrestrained targeting of Christians by the Islamic State in Egypt, Syria and Iraq; or attacks on Shia communities by Sunni extremists in Pakistan.”

This is the environment in which ISIS thrives. Its attacks in Paris, France, in 2015, for example, were designed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment. Wherever the group’s remaining leaders are hiding — probably in the deserts of western Iraq — they will be hoping religious animosity is kindled in Sri Lanka.

As Edmund Fitton-Brown puts it: “We have to live with an ambient threat. That’s the modern world.”
Destroyed on the battlefield, ISIS begins new chapter of terror

Inside days of the assaults, ISIS’ on-line publication al Nabaa crowed about “elevating the Caliphate banner in new arenas… The times are pregnant with extra disappointments for the enemies of Allah.” The video was launched by a information company linked to ISIS.

There may be a lot but to be discovered about the group behind the Sri Lankan assaults, however counterterrorism consultants are united on one level: the small Islamist teams on the island couldn’t have carried out such a posh assault with out outdoors assist.

That begs a number of questions: is ISIS efficiently exporting experience in bomb-making, fund-raising and recruitment far past what was its core territory? The place is it discovering fertile floor? And the way far is “ISIS central” — topic to a crippling conflict of attrition over the final three years — succesful of organizing and directing assaults removed from its heartland?

Slipping away

CNN senior worldwide correspondent Ben Wedeman was in Baghouz in northern Syria for practically two months as he reported on ISIS’ final stand. “I do not suppose there’s any doubt that many militants — a whole lot — managed to flee to battle one other day,” he says. “As the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) closed in on Baghouz, there have been a lot of alternatives to flee. The quantity of SDF fighters was comparatively small and the space they wanted to safe giant.”

Many will nonetheless be underground in Iraq and Syria. We’re already seeing the adaptation of ISIS in Iraq right into a low-level insurgency, with ambushes and assassinations towards authorities forces and Shia militia in a number of Sunni areas this 12 months. A UN report early this 12 months famous: “This community is being established at the provincial stage with a mobile construction mirroring the key capabilities coated by the central management.”

In January, an ISIS sleeper cell was in a position to perform a suicide assault that killed no less than 14 folks, together with 4 People, in Manbij in northern Syria, removed from the sliver of land it nonetheless managed. Simply in the previous week, ISIS fighters staged a shock assault on al Kawm in the desert close to Palmyra.

Aimen Dean, who joined al Qaeda in 1996 earlier than turning into an asset for British intelligence, instructed CNN he estimates that as many as 5,000 ISIS fighters are at giant in the space.

Most assessments recommend (although that is an imprecise science) that hundreds reasonably than a whole lot of ISIS fighters and planners slipped out of the caliphate after the loss of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.

“We do not know what number of have died,” says Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the ISIS/Al-Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Staff at the United Nations. “However we are able to assume that no less than 50% survive. My private guess is extra.”
A week after the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka is no closer to understanding or healing

Intelligence sources say some slipped via Iran into the Pakistani province of Balochistan and into Afghanistan. Its propaganda suggests ISIS sees India as promising territory and is intent on aggravating Muslim-Hindu tensions there. Others have gone residence to Jordan and Saudi Arabia — the place there was an ISIS-inspired assault on the identical day as the Colombo bombings.

The ISIS community in Libya is regrouping since being ejected from the coastal city of Sirte and has carried out a number of assaults this 12 months towards different Libyan factions.

In the Philippines, a pro-ISIS group held components of the city of Marawi for 5 months in 2017; it included many overseas fighters.

“Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan: these are the international locations the place returnees are going to pose a major menace,” says Aimen Dean.

Push and pull

Past the battle-hardened survivors of the caliphate, there are a lot of ISIS sympathizers sustained by on-line radicalization and extremist preachers. The collapse of the caliphate might have diminished ISIS’ attraction, however regardless of US President Donald Trump’s boasts that “We simply took over 100% caliphate,” it has definitely not extinguished it. The group’s management lengthy ready for this new section of its existence. Earlier than he was killed in a drone strike, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani stated the loss of territory wouldn’t spell the group’s finish.
“No: defeat is dropping the will and the need to battle,” he stated.
What should Europe do with its captured ISIS followers?

ISIS’ management has been hollowed out, communication and planning disrupted. However the message remains to be on the market. Edmund Fitton-Brown says assaults impressed by ISIS will grow to be the new regular.

“It is offended, radicalized people responding to one thing they’re seeing on-line,” he instructed the Combating Terrorism Middle’s Sentinel.

Some will signal as much as ISIS’ ideology; some will look to al Qaeda. And in some locations, corresponding to the Sahel in north Africa, there are indicators of budding cooperation between members of every group. Aimen Dean, who follows the combating in Syria carefully, says some former ISIS fighters are gravitating to a gaggle aligned with al Qaeda — Hurras al Deen — in northern Syria.

In some methods a devolved construction is tougher to confront than a extremely centralized one. Reducing off the head of the snake has much less impact. Al Qaeda’s associates in Africa, Yemen and elsewhere survived and even prospered lengthy after al Qaeda central was decimated.

The financial institution of terror

The place ISIS has a important benefit is at the financial institution. Fitton-Brown says that estimates of its belongings fall between $50 million and $300 million. Different estimates go even greater. The revenues of the Caliphate have been invested in reputable companies, laundered via banks and money-lenders and actually hidden beneath floorboards.

One overriding query about the Sri Lanka assaults is how they have been financed. Dean estimates the operation might have price between $30,000 and $40,000. “Who put collectively that kind of cash and the way did they get it?” asks Dean.

Equally, after the assault in Riyadh per week in the past, Saudi authorities raided a recently-built farm complicated whose development, in response to Dean’s sources, would have price practically $200,000. There have been a lot of money and weapons there too.

So, the ISIS management should train some management over the distribution of funds. “Cash completely was moved outdoors [of Iraq and Syria],” says Fitton-Brown. “And caches of cash and gold have been transferred to different areas.”

“The money is all the time centrally administered by an final authority inside the group,” says Dean. Operations could also be at the discretion of native franchises; their funding hardly ever is. “ISIS is the Financial institution of Terror,” Dean instructed CNN.

A worldwide phenomenon

In a long time previous, terrorism tended to be native or nationwide. In 1998, al Qaeda introduced itself on the world stage with assaults in east Africa, adopted by the September 11 assaults on the United States three years later. The age of transnational jihad had arrived. The worldwide attain of terrorism has since been fed by on-line radicalization, encrypted messaging and the ease of worldwide journey.

Why we still need to worry about ISIS

Set this inside what Bruce Hoffman, writing for the Council on Overseas Relations, describes as non secular intolerance and sectarian tensions in every single place, “whether or not or not it’s rising Islamophobia, as in the March 2019 assaults on two mosques in New Zealand; elevated anti-Semitism … the unrestrained focusing on of Christians by the Islamic State in Egypt, Syria and Iraq; or assaults on Shia communities by Sunni extremists in Pakistan.”

That is the setting by which ISIS thrives. Its assaults in Paris, France, in 2015, for instance, have been designed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment. Wherever the group’s remaining leaders are hiding — in all probability in the deserts of western Iraq — they are going to be hoping non secular animosity is kindled in Sri Lanka.

As Edmund Fitton-Brown places it: “We’ve got to reside with an ambient menace. That is the trendy world.”
Facts Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/28/world/isis-sri-lanka-international-threat-intl/index.html

Boeing says making progress to certify grounded MAX jets with software fix

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

(Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Monday it was making steady progress to certify its grounded 737 MAX jets with a software update and completed a final flight test prior to the certification flight.

“Test pilots have made 146 737 MAX flights totaling roughly 246 hours of air time with the updated software, and nearly 90 percent of our 50-plus MAX operators around the globe have experienced the software update themselves during one of our simulator sessions,” Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said.

Muilenburg will face shareholders on Monday for the first time since two fatal crashes that led to the 737 MAX’s grounding worldwide and triggered investigations, lawsuits and a sharp loss in share value.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Boeing says making progress to certify grounded MAX jets with software fix

FILE PHOTO: An aerial picture reveals Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac on the Boeing Manufacturing unit in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Picture

(Reuters) – Boeing Co mentioned on Monday it was making regular progress to certify its grounded 737 MAX jets with a software replace and accomplished a closing flight take a look at prior to the certification flight.

“Take a look at pilots have made 146 737 MAX flights totaling roughly 246 hours of air time with the up to date software, and practically 90 % of our 50-plus MAX operators across the globe have skilled the software replace themselves throughout certainly one of our simulator classes,” Chief Govt Officer Dennis Muilenburg mentioned.

Muilenburg will face shareholders on Monday for the primary time since two deadly crashes that led to the 737 MAX’s grounding worldwide and triggered investigations, lawsuits and a pointy loss in share worth.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Enhancing by Anil D’Silva

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.
Facts Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/L4FS8hIri6I/boeing-says-making-progress-to-certify-grounded-max-jets-with-software-fix-idUSKCN1S516O

International footballer for the Czech Republic Josef Sural has died aged 28 after a minibus carrying him and his teammates overturned in Turkey.

Sural was travelling home from football club Alanyaspor after an away game against Kayserispor in central Turkey with six of his teammates in a private “luxury” minibus when the accident happened.

The crash reportedly occurred near the town of Alanya on the south coast of the country, which is a popular tourist destination.

Sural and his teammates were on their way back from a game in central Turkey
Image:
Sural and his teammates were on their way back from a game in central Turkey

The president of Alanyaspor, Hasan Cavusoglu said that the Czech died in hospital whilst undergoing emergency surgery.

The other six passengers are said to be in a stable condition and have small cuts and bruises, according to Mr Cavusoglu.

He also said that the driver was being investigated by police, and claimed that he was asleep at the wheel.

Responding to his player’s death, Mr Cavusoglu said: “Our pain is huge.”

Sural’s wife rushed to the hospital, where Mr Cavusoglu informed her of her husband’s death.

Sural joined the Czech national team in 2013
Image:
Sural joined the Czech national team in 2013

The Czech Republic’s governing body for football said on Twitter: “The Football Association of the Czech Republic has accepted with great grief the news that the representative striker Josef Sural died tragically in Turkey.

“We’ll never forget you, Pepo!”

Sural joined Turkish club Alanyaspor in January this year from Czech club Slavia Prague, and he made his international debut in 2013.

The Czech was an unused substitute in the one all draw against Kayserispor on Sunday.

Josef Sural: Czech footballer dies aged 28 after team bus crashes in Turkey | World News

Worldwide footballer for the Czech Republic Josef Sural has died aged 28 after a minibus carrying him and his teammates overturned in Turkey.

Sural was travelling dwelling from soccer membership Alanyaspor after an away sport in opposition to Kayserispor in central Turkey with six of his teammates in a non-public “luxurious” minibus when the accident occurred.

The crash reportedly occurred close to the city of Alanya on the south coast of the nation, which is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot.

Sural and his teammates were on their way back from a game in central Turkey
Picture:
Sural and his teammates had been on their manner again from a sport in central Turkey

The president of Alanyaspor, Hasan Cavusoglu stated that the Czech died in hospital while present process emergency surgical procedure.

The opposite six passengers are stated to be in a secure situation and have small cuts and bruises, in keeping with Mr Cavusoglu.

He additionally stated that the driving force was being investigated by police, and claimed that he was asleep on the wheel.

Responding to his participant’s dying, Mr Cavusoglu stated: “Our ache is large.”

Sural’s spouse rushed to the hospital, the place Mr Cavusoglu knowledgeable her of her husband’s dying.

Sural joined the Czech national team in 2013
Picture:
Sural joined the Czech nationwide team in 2013

The Czech Republic’s governing physique for soccer stated on Twitter: “The Soccer Affiliation of the Czech Republic has accepted with nice grief the information that the consultant striker Josef Sural died tragically in Turkey.

“We’ll always remember you, Pepo!”

Sural joined Turkish membership Alanyaspor in January this 12 months from Czech membership Slavia Prague, and he made his worldwide debut in 2013.

The Czech was an unused substitute in the one all draw in opposition to Kayserispor on Sunday.

Facts Source: http://news.sky.com/story/josef-sural-czech-footballer-dies-aged-28-after-team-bus-crashes-in-turkey-11706859

Inside a small makeshift chapel, a kaleidoscopic congregation of Chinese migrants gather to pray. Among them are underwear importers, health workers and operators of the controversial new $3.8 billion Chinese-built railway that slices through Kenya, the country’s biggest infrastructure project since independence — and a sign of China’s growing investment and footprint on the continent.

Some have married Kenyans, others have Chinese children who speak Swahili as well as they do Mandarin.

But they all share two things. Each person here has re-rooted their life from Communist China to Kenya, a leading African economy where 80% of the nearly 50 million people are Christian. And they have all decided to openly embrace God.

“Publicly, it’s dangerous to be a Christian in China right now,” says Jonathon Chow, 43, a senior pastor at the Bread of Life Church, which is headquartered in Taiwan but has 500 ministries, including many in West Africa.

Previously, the organization’s churches in Africa tended to be run and attended by Africans, he says. But increasingly Bread of Life is seeing Chinese-led congregations forming across the continent, as more Chinese move to Africa and interact with local values.

The Golden Lampstand Church, in China, was demolished with dynamite and heavy machinery in January 2018.

Throughout the service, a middle-aged couple from Shandong province, who say they are new to Kenya and the ministry, post audio clips of hymns and photographs of readings onto WeChat, a social network closely monitored by the Chinese government.

“Most of the congregation here got saved in Kenya,” says Chow. “Unless they were a believer before they came, most don’t know a lot about the Christian conditions in China.”

‘The Kenyan wedding everyone is talking about’

The first time Liang Yongyu met Karen Ngunjiri at the billboard advertising company where they both worked in Nairobi, he told her she would be his wife.

The pair dated for 6 months, then hit a roadblock that threatened to scupper his swaggering prediction. Liang, 33, was not a Christian.

“That was a deal breaker for me,” says Ngunjiri, 29, who spent four years studying Mandarin in Nanning, south-west China. “Him being Chinese? Not a problem. But him not being a Christian, I thought that was going to be a big issue. How would we bring up our children?”

Liang had lived in Kenya for a “long time,” could speak some Swahili and had been “hearing a lot about Christianity” from his Kenyan friends, Ngunjiri says. After some soul searching, he said he “was open to exploring what Christianity had to offer,” she adds.

Liang connected with a church in Nairobi that held services in Cantonese — the language spoken in his home province of Guangdong, in southern China, and Hong Kong, where the pastors who founded the ministry were from.

In December 2018, those Hong Kong pastors married the couple in a Christian ceremony in the shadow of Mount Kenya in front of 200 guests — “a small wedding for Kenya,” jokes Ngunjiri.

Weeks later, a video of their wedding went viral on YouTube with the title: “THE KENYAN WEDDING EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT.” Ngunjiri still doesn’t know who uploaded it, but for months the newlyweds couldn’t walk down the street in Nairobi without being recognized. The novelty of a Kenyan woman marrying a Chinese man had got people’s attention.

Liang Yongyu and Karen Ngunjiri were married near Mount Kenya after he converted to Christianity for her.

“Some of the comments (online) were horrible,” she says, of the video that has since been taken down, but at its peak had nearly 300,000 views, according to Ngunjiri. “Especially from Kenyans. There’s this idea that the Chinese are here to steal our jobs or colonize us. So the joke was now they’re stealing our women.”

In 2017, China was Kenya’s largest trading partner and, in 2014, the country was home to an estimated 40,000 Chinese migrants. But their relations with Kenyans have, at times, been tense.
In 2015, a Chinese restaurateur reportedly banned African patrons after 5 p.m., last year a Chinese boss was deported from Kenya after being caught on video calling an employee a “monkey,” and local media has claimed that Kenyan workers on the Chinese-built railway have been treated like second-class citizens by their foreign employers.
Kenyans are also concerned about how much debt their country owes to China. Last year, in a seeming show of strength against Chinese dominance President Kenyatta Uhuru banned imports of cheap Chinese fish, amid claims it was squeezing out local produce. But his ban was soon reversed: Kenya does not produce enough fish to feed itself.

Kenyan workers on the Standard Gauge Railway; Chinese supervisors on the platform in Nairobi; Kenyan staff man the modern terminal.

The anti-Chinese commentators on Ngunjiri’s wedding video, however, had perhaps missed the point.

Rather than Ngunjiri being overpowered by Chinese culture, it was Liang who had changed his faith and agreed to a Christian African wedding with just 20 Chinese guests who didn’t include his mother, embracing a new culture 5,300 miles from home.

A new door opens

An estimated 1 million Chinese have moved to the African continent in the 21st century, according to journalist Howard French’s book “China’s Second Continent,” amid growing trade ties between the two regions. But what is perhaps unique about Kenya’s Chinese population, and why it is embracing the country’s religious culture, is its diversity. A 2015 study found the Chinese in Kenya are spread “across every sector in a significant way.”

This makes a difference. Employees of government-owned giants, shipped out to build roads in Uganda or airports in Zimbabwe, for example, are typically bused to and from work and must stay inside their compounds in the evenings and at weekends unless given approval to leave by a manager. But in Nairobi — a vibrant city home to African tech giant M-Pesa, which revolutionized mobile banking in East Africa — a younger generation of Chinese are working in the private sector, freer to explore new cultures and belief systems through their personal connections with local people.

Annie Hu, 30, began attending church in Kenya; Chinese and Kenyan employees mix at a media company office; the China Center where many Chinese expats have businesses.

Among them is Annie Hu, 30, who relocated to Kenya five years ago and works as East Africa region manager for a Chinese financial technology, or fintech, giant. She says the 9-to-5 “pole pole” (meaning “slowly slowly” in Swahili) lifestyle here is more attractive than the 9-9-6 grind — working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week — at some of China’s biggest technology companies in the country’s Silicon Valley city of Shenzhen, where she relocated from.

“Living in a developing country and international city you encounter different nationalities, races and lifestyles,” Hu says. After frequently traveling for work to the Muslim majority city of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, she went to Lebanon and Jordan last year to learn more about Islamic culture. “It opened a totally new door for me,” she says. Perhaps reflecting on how her own country treats Muslims, she diplomatically adds: “We need more understanding.”

Hu’s family is Buddhist but in Nairobi she began attending Christian churches, including Bread of Life and the Cantonese congregation joined by Liang, as well as a Maasai church. “Kenyans believe in God more than my Western friends,” she says. “Once we engage with the local community it’s inevitable we are invited to join the church. These people are very friendly and reliable and they try to build a supportive community for the Chines​e.”

Chow from Bread of Life agrees the church is an important social network for newcomers. “I also think the cultural differences and the hardship the Chinese experience here means they are more open to the gospel,” he says.

For Hu, flirting with various Christian communities hasn’t yet resulted in a full conversion, although she doesn’t rule it out. “It’s brought more religion into my life,” she says, “but I didn’t get to the point where I want to be a Christian yet.”

The world’s biggest Christian nation?

It is not only the Chinese in Kenya who are embracing Christianity. Many Chinese students in America, Australia and the UK are returning home Christian, says Ian Johnson, author of “The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao.” Their conversion chimes with a broader trend at home: China itself is on track to be the world’s biggest Christian nation by 2030, by some estimates.

For much of the 20th century, Chinese citizens were taught to worship the founding father of the Communist Party, Mao Zedong, the revolutionary leader who destroyed much of the nation’s Buddhist and Taoist religious infrastructure during the Cultural Revolution. “There used to be 900 temples in Beijing alone,” says Johnson. “Now there are 20.”

Mao’s death in 1976 left the Chinese searching for a new value system. Christianity seemed fresh and modern to the country’s newly urban residents, Johnson says, although more people in China are still Buddhist.

By 2017, there were between 93 million and 115 million Christians in China — around 5% of the country’s population — but fewer than 30 million practice in official churches, according to Purdue University scholar Yang Fenggang. If those estimates pan out, there would now be almost as many Christians in China as there are members of the Communist Party, which had an estimated 90 million members in 2016.

That has riled the government. Under President Xi Jinping rhetoric has grown on the need to “Sinicize” religions perceived to be Western, despite the fact many Christians in China do not feel “un-Chinese or foreign,” says Johnson.

The congregation is offered grape juice during Communion at the Bread of Life.

Today, only state-sanctioned Christian organizations are legal in China. Overcrowded state churches run as many as 5 services a day and their pastors’ wages are paid by the government, says Johnson. The alternatives are so-called house churches which operate illegally but can offer a more personal ministry, with pastors on first-name terms with their congregation.

For years, such churches were tolerated in China but recently they have become a target of the authorities and their requests to register with the state are often rejected.

In December 2018, one of China’s best-known underground ministries, the Early Rain Covenant Church, in Chengdu, was raided. The pastor and his wife were charged with “inciting subversion,” which can carry a 15-year prison sentence, and more than 100 worshipers were arrested.

An underground church in Kenya

Kenya is not a place you’d expect to find an underground church. Christianity is the lifeblood of the nation’s politics and societal fabric, and is celebrated in huge, rambunctious services attended by thousands of dancing and singing worshipers.

But, in the northern stretches of the sprawling, traffic-choked capital of 4 million people, an underground Chinese house church is exactly what May Li, wife of a Malaysian-Chinese pastor, helps to lead — illustrating just how far the Communist Party’s religious crackdown has traveled. Li and other Chinese Christians in this story did not want to use their real names for fear of being punished by the government when they return to China.

The Chinese embassy in Nairobi has already reached out to the leaders of some Chinese Christian groups in the city and asked them to desist, says Li. Her service tries to stay below the radar.

It’s notable that the three main Christian churches in Nairobi are run by Chinese pastors from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia — places outside mainland China where Chinese people enjoy more Christian religious freedom.

A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mofa) in Beijing said it was “not aware” of this situation, adding that China does not have “so-called house churches.”

“The Chinese government respects its people’s religious freedom and protects normal religious activities and legitimate rights of religious organizations, and manages religious issues pertaining to national and public interests in accordance with law,” the spokesperson said via fax. “At the same time, we require all religions to obey national laws and carry out activities within the law.”

On Sunday afternoons, Li’s underground church meets in a small basement room of a huge Kenyan church. No photography is allowed. No names of attendees can be revealed. No Chinese person here wants to be outed as a Christian.

The Bread of Life service is held in a high-rise office tower, which is busy Monday to Friday but empty on Sundays apart from this church.

“These people will one day go back to China,” says Li, explaining that this congregation is a transient group often working in Kenya for short stints. Most were Christian before they came and, if they belonged to a house church, are aware of some of the risks.

Church translator Grace Zhang, from Hubei province, falls into that category. “Things are very difficult for my church in China right now,” says Zhang, who did not want her real name used. She became a Christian with her mother in 2002 and relocated to Kenya to proselytize to Chinese abroad, as well as to Kenyans.

Despite her work, Zhang hesitates to call herself a missionary — “that’s a sensitive word,” she says. Chinese law bans missionary work in China. Instead, Zhang prefers the term “cultural mediator.”

Many Africans from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Sudan also attend the bilingual service, which is delivered in English and Mandarin, hoping to improve their language skills or learn more about China. “God gave them the burden of loving the Chinese,” Zhang says.

Through their interaction at the church, Zhang helps Africans and Chinese better understand each other. She explains to the Chinese, for example, that Kenyans place a high value on in-depth greetings, meaning that asking about the well-being of multiple family members is a cultural necessity. She warns Africans that many Chinese do not respond well to overly physical greetings.

“We try to learn from both sides,” she says.

China vs God … going home

In Chinese state media, the clampdown on faith goes largely unreported and Christianity is “virtually invisible,” says Johnson — the government doesn’t want to “encourage anyone to think about religion.”

That explains why worshipers at the Bread of Life church in Nairobi are open about sharing their Christianity. This is a more settled congregation. Having found religion abroad and been out of China for several years, in most cases, they often simply do not know the extent of their government’s crackdown, says Chow — although many have a sense the government is not enthusiastic about religion.

When members want to repatriate, however, they have to be enlightened of the potential risks.

Maggie Wong, 35, a pastor at Bread of Life, says the church tries to prepare them for what they will face and has a network of underground churches to connect them with. “It’s very stressful,” she says.

A Chinese Christian reads a Bible at a church in Nairobi.

“From a spiritual perspective, I think it’s not easy for returnees to survive when they go back to their home country if they live overseas,” says Zhang, from the underground church. “When they go back we keep in touch with them and even Skype for bible study.”

Some Christians in Kenya, however, who learn of the potential dangers that await them in China say it could be a deterrent from returning.

Jimmy Hong Zhen Wu, 53, a trader from Guangdong province, became Christian during the decade he has spent living in Kenya, where his wife has given birth to two daughters now under 8 years old. He travels to China regularly for work and says he is conscious of the double life he would need to lead back home.

“In public, in China we can’t speak about our faith,” says Wu, who did not want his real name used. “Only with friends and family can we say we are Christian.”

Whether his daughters, who have spent their lives in a proudly Christian society attending church every Sunday, will understand those confines if their family one day heads back to China remains to be seen. ​​

Chinese Christians find God and religious refuge in Kenya

Inside a small makeshift chapel, a kaleidoscopic congregation of Chinese migrants collect to wish. Amongst them are underwear importers, well being employees and operators of the controversial new $3.eight billion Chinese-built railway that slices by means of Kenya, the nation’s largest infrastructure challenge since independence — and an indication of China’s rising funding and footprint on the continent.

Some have married Kenyans, others have Chinese kids who communicate Swahili in addition to they do Mandarin.

However all of them share two issues. Every particular person right here has re-rooted their life from Communist China to Kenya, a number one African financial system the place 80% of the practically 50 million individuals are Christian. And so they have all determined to brazenly embrace God.

“Publicly, it is harmful to be a Christian in China proper now,” says Jonathon Chow, 43, a senior pastor on the Bread of Life Church, which is headquartered in Taiwan however has 500 ministries, together with many in West Africa.

Beforehand, the group’s church buildings in Africa tended to be run and attended by Africans, he says. However more and more Bread of Life is seeing Chinese-led congregations forming throughout the continent, as extra Chinese transfer to Africa and work together with native values.

The Golden Lampstand Church, in China, was demolished with dynamite and heavy equipment in January 2018.

All through the service, a middle-aged couple from Shandong province, who say they’re new to Kenya and the ministry, publish audio clips of hymns and pictures of readings onto WeChat, a social community carefully monitored by the Chinese authorities.

“Many of the congregation right here acquired saved in Kenya,” says Chow. “Until they have been a believer earlier than they got here, most do not know rather a lot concerning the Christian circumstances in China.”

‘The Kenyan wedding ceremony everyone seems to be speaking about’

The primary time Liang Yongyu met Karen Ngunjiri on the billboard promoting firm the place they each labored in Nairobi, he instructed her she could be his spouse.

The pair dated for six months, then hit a roadblock that threatened to scupper his swaggering prediction. Liang, 33, was not a Christian.

“That was a deal breaker for me,” says Ngunjiri, 29, who spent 4 years learning Mandarin in Nanning, south-west China. “Him being Chinese? Not an issue. However him not being a Christian, I assumed that was going to be a giant difficulty. How would we carry up our youngsters?”

Liang had lived in Kenya for a “very long time,” may communicate some Swahili and had been “listening to rather a lot about Christianity” from his Kenyan mates, Ngunjiri says. After some soul looking out, he stated he “was open to exploring what Christianity needed to supply,” she provides.

Liang linked with a church in Nairobi that held companies in Cantonese — the language spoken in his house province of Guangdong, in southern China, and Hong Kong, the place the pastors who based the ministry have been from.

In December 2018, these Hong Kong pastors married the couple in a Christian ceremony in the shadow of Mount Kenya in entrance of 200 visitors — “a small wedding ceremony for Kenya,” jokes Ngunjiri.

Weeks later, a video of their wedding ceremony went viral on YouTube with the title: “THE KENYAN WEDDING EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT.” Ngunjiri nonetheless does not know who uploaded it, however for months the newlyweds could not stroll down the road in Nairobi with out being acknowledged. The novelty of a Kenyan girl marrying a Chinese man had acquired individuals’s consideration.

Liang Yongyu and Karen Ngunjiri were married near Mount Kenya after he converted to Christianity for her.

“A number of the feedback (on-line) have been horrible,” she says, of the video that has since been taken down, however at its peak had practically 300,000 views, based on Ngunjiri. “Particularly from Kenyans. There’s this concept that the Chinese are right here to steal our jobs or colonize us. So the joke was now they’re stealing our girls.”

In 2017, China was Kenya’s largest buying and selling accomplice and, in 2014, the nation was house to an estimated 40,000 Chinese migrants. However their relations with Kenyans have, at instances, been tense.
In 2015, a Chinese restaurateur reportedly banned African patrons after 5 p.m., final yr a Chinese boss was deported from Kenya after being caught on video calling an worker a “monkey,” and native media has claimed that Kenyan employees on the Chinese-built railway have been handled like second-class residents by their overseas employers.
Kenyans are additionally involved about how a lot debt their nation owes to China. Final yr, in a seeming present of power towards Chinese dominance President Kenyatta Uhuru banned imports of low cost Chinese fish, amid claims it was squeezing out native produce. However his ban was quickly reversed: Kenya doesn’t produce sufficient fish to feed itself.

Kenyan employees on the Normal Gauge Railway; Chinese supervisors on the platform in Nairobi; Kenyan workers man the trendy terminal.

The anti-Chinese commentators on Ngunjiri’s wedding ceremony video, nonetheless, had maybe missed the purpose.

Reasonably than Ngunjiri being overpowered by Chinese tradition, it was Liang who had modified his religion and agreed to a Christian African wedding ceremony with simply 20 Chinese visitors who did not embody his mom, embracing a brand new tradition 5,300 miles from house.

A brand new door opens

An estimated 1 million Chinese have moved to the African continent in the 21st century, based on journalist Howard French’s ebook “China’s Second Continent,” amid rising commerce ties between the 2 areas. However what is maybe distinctive about Kenya’s Chinese inhabitants, and why it’s embracing the nation’s religious tradition, is its range. A 2015 examine discovered the Chinese in Kenya are unfold “throughout each sector in a big manner.”

This makes a distinction. Staff of government-owned giants, shipped out to construct roads in Uganda or airports in Zimbabwe, for instance, are sometimes bused to and from work and should keep inside their compounds in the evenings and at weekends until given approval to depart by a supervisor. However in Nairobi — a vibrant metropolis house to African tech big M-Pesa, which revolutionized cell banking in East Africa — a youthful era of Chinese are working in the personal sector, freer to discover new cultures and perception programs by means of their private connections with native individuals.

Annie Hu, 30, started attending church in Kenya; Chinese and Kenyan staff combine at a media firm workplace; the China Middle the place many Chinese expats have companies.

Amongst them is Annie Hu, 30, who relocated to Kenya 5 years in the past and works as East Africa area supervisor for a Chinese monetary expertise, or fintech, big. She says the 9-to-5 “pole pole” (which means “slowly slowly” in Swahili) way of life right here is extra enticing than the 9-9-6 grind — working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days every week — at a few of China’s largest expertise corporations in the nation’s Silicon Valley metropolis of Shenzhen, the place she relocated from.

“Residing in a growing nation and worldwide metropolis you encounter totally different nationalities, races and existence,” Hu says. After regularly touring for work to the Muslim majority metropolis of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, she went to Lebanon and Jordan final yr to study extra about Islamic tradition. “It opened a completely new door for me,” she says. Maybe reflecting on how her personal nation treats Muslims, she diplomatically provides: “We’d like extra understanding.”

Hu’s household is Buddhist however in Nairobi she started attending Christian church buildings, together with Bread of Life and the Cantonese congregation joined by Liang, in addition to a Maasai church. “Kenyans consider in God greater than my Western mates,” she says. “As soon as we have interaction with the local people it is inevitable we’re invited to hitch the church. These individuals are very pleasant and dependable and they attempt to construct a supportive group for the Chines​e.”

Chow from Bread of Life agrees the church is a crucial social community for newcomers. “I additionally suppose the cultural variations and the hardship the Chinese expertise right here means they’re extra open to the gospel,” he says.

For Hu, flirting with varied Christian communities hasn’t but resulted in a full conversion, though she does not rule it out. “It is introduced extra faith into my life,” she says, “however I did not get to the purpose the place I need to be a Christian but.”

The world’s largest Christian nation?

It isn’t solely the Chinese in Kenya who’re embracing Christianity. Many Chinese college students in America, Australia and the UK are returning house Christian, says Ian Johnson, creator of “The Souls of China: The Return of Faith After Mao.” Their conversion chimes with a broader development at house: China itself is on monitor to be the world’s largest Christian nation by 2030, by some estimates.

For a lot of the 20th century, Chinese residents have been taught to worship the founding father of the Communist Occasion, Mao Zedong, the revolutionary chief who destroyed a lot of the nation’s Buddhist and Taoist religious infrastructure in the course of the Cultural Revolution. “There was 900 temples in Beijing alone,” says Johnson. “Now there are 20.”

Mao’s demise in 1976 left the Chinese looking for a brand new worth system. Christianity appeared contemporary and trendy to the nation’s newly city residents, Johnson says, though extra individuals in China are nonetheless Buddhist.

By 2017, there have been between 93 million and 115 million Christians in China — round 5% of the nation’s inhabitants — however fewer than 30 million follow in official church buildings, based on Purdue College scholar Yang Fenggang. If these estimates pan out, there would now be nearly as many Christians in China as there are members of the Communist Occasion, which had an estimated 90 million members in 2016.

That has riled the federal government. Beneath President Xi Jinping rhetoric has grown on the necessity to “Sinicize” religions perceived to be Western, regardless of the actual fact many Christians in China don’t really feel “un-Chinese or overseas,” says Johnson.

The congregation is offered grape juice during Communion at the Bread of Life.

In the present day, solely state-sanctioned Christian organizations are authorized in China. Overcrowded state church buildings run as many as 5 companies a day and their pastors’ wages are paid by the federal government, says Johnson. The alternate options are so-called home church buildings which function illegally however can supply a extra private ministry, with pastors on first-name phrases with their congregation.

For years, such church buildings have been tolerated in China however not too long ago they’ve change into a goal of the authorities and their requests to register with the state are sometimes rejected.

In December 2018, one in all China’s best-known underground ministries, the Early Rain Covenant Church, in Chengdu, was raided. The pastor and his spouse have been charged with “inciting subversion,” which might carry a 15-year jail sentence, and greater than 100 worshipers have been arrested.

An underground church in Kenya

Kenya will not be a spot you’d count on to find an underground church. Christianity is the lifeblood of the nation’s politics and societal material, and is widely known in big, rambunctious companies attended by hundreds of dancing and singing worshipers.

However, in the northern stretches of the sprawling, traffic-choked capital of four million individuals, an underground Chinese home church is strictly what Could Li, spouse of a Malaysian-Chinese pastor, helps to steer — illustrating simply how far the Communist Occasion’s religious crackdown has traveled. Li and different Chinese Christians in this story didn’t need to use their actual names for concern of being punished by the federal government once they return to China.

The Chinese embassy in Nairobi has already reached out to the leaders of some Chinese Christian teams in the town and requested them to desist, says Li. Her service tries to remain beneath the radar.

It is notable that the three essential Christian church buildings in Nairobi are run by Chinese pastors from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia — locations outdoors mainland China the place Chinese individuals take pleasure in extra Christian religious freedom.

A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of International Affairs (Mofa) in Beijing stated it was “not conscious” of this case, including that China doesn’t have “so-called home church buildings.”

“The Chinese authorities respects its individuals’s religious freedom and protects regular religious actions and legit rights of religious organizations, and manages religious points pertaining to nationwide and public pursuits in accordance with regulation,” the spokesperson stated by way of fax. “On the identical time, we require all religions to obey nationwide legal guidelines and perform actions inside the regulation.”

On Sunday afternoons, Li’s underground church meets in a small basement room of an enormous Kenyan church. No pictures is allowed. No names of attendees could be revealed. No Chinese particular person right here needs to be outed as a Christian.

The Bread of Life service is held in a high-rise office tower, which is busy Monday to Friday but empty on Sundays apart from this church.

“These individuals will someday return to China,” says Li, explaining that this congregation is a transient group usually working in Kenya for brief stints. Most have been Christian earlier than they got here and, in the event that they belonged to a home church, are conscious of among the dangers.

Church translator Grace Zhang, from Hubei province, falls into that class. “Issues are very troublesome for my church in China proper now,” says Zhang, who didn’t need her actual identify used. She grew to become a Christian together with her mom in 2002 and relocated to Kenya to proselytize to Chinese overseas, in addition to to Kenyans.

Regardless of her work, Zhang hesitates to name herself a missionary — “that is a delicate phrase,” she says. Chinese regulation bans missionary work in China. As an alternative, Zhang prefers the time period “cultural mediator.”

Many Africans from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Sudan additionally attend the bilingual service, which is delivered in English and Mandarin, hoping to enhance their language abilities or study extra about China. “God gave them the burden of loving the Chinese,” Zhang says.

Via their interplay on the church, Zhang helps Africans and Chinese higher perceive one another. She explains to the Chinese, for instance, that Kenyans place a excessive worth on in-depth greetings, which means that asking concerning the well-being of a number of relations is a cultural necessity. She warns Africans that many Chinese don’t reply properly to overly bodily greetings.

“We attempt to study from each side,” she says.

China vs God … going house

In Chinese state media, the clampdown on religion goes largely unreported and Christianity is “nearly invisible,” says Johnson — the federal government does not need to “encourage anybody to consider faith.”

That explains why worshipers on the Bread of Life church in Nairobi are open about sharing their Christianity. It is a extra settled congregation. Having discovered faith overseas and been out of China for a number of years, in most instances, they usually merely have no idea the extent of their authorities’s crackdown, says Chow — though many have a way the federal government will not be smitten by faith.

When members need to repatriate, nonetheless, they must be enlightened of the potential dangers.

Maggie Wong, 35, a pastor at Bread of Life, says the church tries to organize them for what they’ll face and has a community of underground church buildings to attach them with. “It is very nerve-racking,” she says.

A Chinese Christian reads a Bible at a church in Nairobi.

“From a non secular perspective, I feel it is not straightforward for returnees to outlive once they return to their house nation in the event that they stay abroad,” says Zhang, from the underground church. “Once they return we preserve in contact with them and even Skype for bible examine.”

Some Christians in Kenya, nonetheless, who study of the potential risks that await them in China say it could possibly be a deterrent from returning.

Jimmy Hong Zhen Wu, 53, a dealer from Guangdong province, grew to become Christian in the course of the decade he has spent dwelling in Kenya, the place his spouse has given start to 2 daughters now beneath eight years previous. He travels to China frequently for work and says he’s aware of the double life he would wish to steer again house.

“In public, in China we will not discuss our religion,” says Wu, who didn’t need his actual identify used. “Solely with mates and household can we are saying we’re Christian.”

Whether or not his daughters, who’ve spent their lives in a proudly Christian society attending church each Sunday, will perceive these confines if their household someday heads again to China stays to be seen. ​​

Facts Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/28/asia/china-christians-africa-kenya-intl/index.html

Sri Lanka on alert for attacks by militants dressed in uniforms

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankan security officials have warned that Islamist militants behind Easter Sunday’s suicide bombings are planning imminent attacks and could be dressed in military uniforms.

A man carrying a sack walks past a mosque in a muslim neighborhood of Colombo, Sri Lanka April 29, 2019, a week after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The militants were targeting five locations for attacks on Sunday or Monday, security sources said.

“There could be another wave of attacks,” the head of ministerial security division (MSD), a unit of the police, said in a letter to lawmakers and other officials, seen by Reuters on Monday.

“The relevant information further notes that persons dressed in military uniforms and using a van could be involved in the attacks.”

There were no attacks on Sunday, and security across Sri Lanka has been ramped up, with scores of suspected Islamists arrested since the April 21 attacks on hotels and churches that killed more than 250 people, including 40 foreign nationals.

Two cabinet ministers and two opposition lawmakers confirmed to Reuters that they were aware of the latest security alert.

“We have been informed about this by the MSD,” Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.

Authorities suspect members of two little known groups – National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim – of carrying out the Easter attacks, though Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said a tight-knit group of people were involved, mostly close friends and families. They mostly spoke face-to-face, possibly to evade electronic surveillance.

“They (the group) were small enough that they were not using normal communications, instead meeting each other,” Wickremesinghe told Reuters.

He added the coordinated bombings, the type of explosives used and the tightly guarded plot suggested the bombers had guidance.

“ISIS (Islamic State) has claimed, we also felt there has to be some international links,” he said.

President Maithripala Sirisena said on Monday he had appointed Chandana Wickramaratne, the second in command at the police, as acting police chief.

Over the weekend, two sources at the president’s office told Reuters that Pujith Jayasundara, the police chief during the attacks, was refusing the president’s request to step down.

It was not immediately possible to contact Jayasundara on Monday.

In India, police said they had raided the homes of three people in the southern state of Kerala, close to Sri Lanka, in connection with their links to Islamic State. They did not say if there was any connection to the attacks in Sri Lanka.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Shri Navaratnam; Additional reporting by Sanjeev Miglani in Colombo and Sudarshan Varadhan in New Delhi; writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Nick Macfie

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Sri Lanka on alert for attacks by militants dressed in uniforms

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankan safety officers have warned that Islamist militants behind Easter Sunday’s suicide bombings are planning imminent attacks and could possibly be dressed in navy uniforms.

A person carrying a sack walks previous a mosque in a muslim neighborhood of Colombo, Sri Lanka April 29, 2019, per week after a string of suicide bomb attacks throughout the island on Easter Sunday. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The militants have been concentrating on 5 places for attacks on Sunday or Monday, safety sources stated.

“There could possibly be one other wave of attacks,” the top of ministerial safety division (MSD), a unit of the police, stated in a letter to lawmakers and different officers, seen by Reuters on Monday.

“The related data additional notes that individuals dressed in navy uniforms and utilizing a van could possibly be concerned in the attacks.”

There have been no attacks on Sunday, and safety throughout Sri Lanka has been ramped up, with scores of suspected Islamists arrested for the reason that April 21 attacks on inns and church buildings that killed greater than 250 individuals, together with 40 overseas nationals.

Two cupboard ministers and two opposition lawmakers confirmed to Reuters that they have been conscious of the most recent safety alert.

“We have now been knowledgeable about this by the MSD,” Well being Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated.

Authorities suspect members of two little recognized teams – Nationwide Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim – of finishing up the Easter attacks, although Islamic State has claimed accountability.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated a tight-knit group of individuals have been concerned, principally shut buddies and households. They principally spoke face-to-face, probably to evade digital surveillance.

“They (the group) have been sufficiently small that they weren’t utilizing regular communications, as an alternative assembly one another,” Wickremesinghe advised Reuters.

He added the coordinated bombings, the kind of explosives used and the tightly guarded plot advised the bombers had steering.

“ISIS (Islamic State) has claimed, we additionally felt there must be some worldwide hyperlinks,” he stated.

President Maithripala Sirisena stated on Monday he had appointed Chandana Wickramaratne, the second in command on the police, as appearing police chief.

Over the weekend, two sources on the president’s workplace advised Reuters that Pujith Jayasundara, the police chief throughout the attacks, was refusing the president’s request to step down.

It was not instantly potential to contact Jayasundara on Monday.

In India, police stated that they had raided the properties of three individuals in the southern state of Kerala, near Sri Lanka, in reference to their hyperlinks to Islamic State. They didn’t say if there was any connection to the attacks in Sri Lanka.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Shri Navaratnam; Further reporting by Sanjeev Miglani in Colombo and Sudarshan Varadhan in New Delhi; writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Enhancing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Nick Macfie

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.
Facts Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/nTXYA_5hS2o/sri-lanka-on-alert-for-attacks-by-militants-dressed-in-uniforms-idUSKCN1S50B4